labour

How do I calculate costing for my crochet items?

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This is the most frequent and most difficult question asked by crafters, especially crocheters.

During my crochet classes, facebook or email messages, this is a question I get asked very often.

I’m a dress designer and -maker for 20 years and I still struggle with that one myself.

The business and financial gurus got all their own formulas that they are working on, but none of them are really working practically for crocheters or even knitters.

Hand crafts are time consuming and different crafts have different time frames within the craft for each item produced.

For example, as a crocheter, I crochet a beanie and an ear-flap hat, both are hats, but they take a different amount of material AND time.

Material costing is the easy part, but the labour costing; now there is the sticky part!

Especially for us crocheters!!!

How do I calculate my labour, as I don’t work on an item from start to finish in one go without interruptions?  Won’t it help me to do more accurate calculations if I could work continuously on an item?

Yes sure, but who got the time to work for 5 days non-stop, without sleeping, eating, drinking and…the other necessary stuff, until the granny square super king size blanket is finish???

No one!!!

So how the heck can I determine how many hours I spent making such a blanket?

Well, the formula going around is:

The cost of the blanket (that is: amount of yarn, the ribbon for embellishing, etc) times 2 or times 3.

Ah, that’s so easy!!  Problem solved!!

No, certainly not for me!!

I realized that I will make more money if I work using really expensive yarn, making the same blanket that will take me the same amount of time.  So there!  My first problem!!

If I use R100 worth of yarn and I times it by 3, then my labour and profit will be R200?

But, if I use R200 worth of yarn and I times it by 3, my labour and profit will be R400!!

See the problem?

Now I tried for years finding a formula that is more applicable to calculate my labour (which of course is my salary).

If I work for a company, they decide that I will cost them X amount every month and that is what I will earn per month.

So as a crafter or crocheter, I also want to earn a salary from the items I make.

Costing Crochet Items

Let’s ask a few questions…

(NOTE: THE AMOUNTS I USE IN THE FORMULA IS JUST TO SHOW AS EXAMPLE.  I TRIED TO SIMPLIFY IT)

 Question 1:

How much do I want to earn per month?

(I’m working these numbers only on actual time worked)

Example:

R9600 per month will be my salary

Now break it down to an hourly rate:

Per week it is: R9600/4 = R2400pw (assuming a month consists of 4 weeks)

Per day it is: R2400/5 = R480pd (assuming you work 5 days a week)

Per hour it is: R480/8 = R60ph (assuming you work 8 hours a day)

 Question 2:

How will I work out my labour for the item I make?

Now here comes the tricky part.

My method is a little more intense, but it is more accurate than the “cost x2 or x3” method.

The only thing that might influence accuracy in my method is the fibre I use, which is comparable to the error made due to the price of different yarns in the case of the “cost times X”  method.  Some fibres are heavier than others that might influence your calculations, but the difference is not as significant as the above mentioned formula.  See how I compensate for this difference at the end!

To do this calculation, you will need a few things:

  1. You will need a digital scale.
  2. You will need a stopwatch; or an extra eye watching the time.
  3. You will need some uninterrupted time (I will work on 10min intervals at a time) for the construction period of your crochet item. (I’m a mom of twins, I know uninterrupted time is a luxury, but you do get some if you really think creatively.)
  4.  You will need a note book and pencil to note your data.
  5.  You will need some mathematical skill – just for the bonus:-D (we all know it is mathematical geniuses that crochet…2dc, dc1,…mmmm.. that is 3 in total, I have to repeat, that will give me 6….)

The great thing about this method is that you can do it any time, not necessary to do it consistently during the construction period or your item, but whenever you have some time to focus, for the rest you can continue working on the item without data notation.

 A. COLLECT DATA

  1. Crochet until you are getting familiar with the pattern. (doing this when you do a pattern for the first time is definitely influencing your time, so get the hang of the pattern and then continue.)
  2. Weigh your item.
  3. Start timing your 10min and crochet as you would have without letting the time chasing you now 🙂
  4. After 10min, weight your item.
  5. Calculate the difference between the 1st value and the 2nd value.

Example:

Item weighed 10g before I start timing.

Item weighs 20g after timing.

Difference is 20g (last value) – 10g (1st value) = 10g worked for 10min.

Now I get interrupted, and tonight when I pick up my crochet work I’m too tired to time and just want to unwind with my hook and yarn.  Tomorrow I am ready for some timing again!!

Then you just repeat 1-5 of the example above.

BGET AN AVERAGE

When your item is done, you have lot of data that you collected during the construction period.  (Note: You can stop noting data at any time during the construction period.  You can note twice of thrice at the start and then again at the end to include hand sewing.  Especially when you have to quote a customer, you will do this to get just an estimate on your labour IF you have the correct amount of yarn.)

From all the weight differences calculated during the 10min periods, I will find an average as follows:

Example:

10g + 12g + 6g + 10g + 8g + 10g + 14g + 9g + 10g + 11g = 100 divide by the amount of differences which in this case is 10 times I noted my information.

Thus: Average per 10min = 10g

C. WORK OUT YOUR LABOUR ON THE ITEM

I want R60ph.

Thus R10 for each 10min interval I work.

Example:

The finish item weighs 500g.

500g/10g (as that is the average weight I worked every 10min) = 50 intervals

There are 50 X 10g intervals during the total construction period of the item.

Every 10g cost R10 as previously determined.

So 50 x R10 = R500 for the total period I spend making the item.

D. THE TOTAL COST

* Now you can determine the yarn.

Add the yarn cost to your labour = total price for finished item

 

And that is how I make my crochet experience even more exciting!!

Yes, there are some errors in this method!

You crochet faster than me, so I make more money that you!

Don’t dismay, I’ve got a solution for you.

The more experienced crocheter obviously will have to earn a bigger salary that the beginner, isn’t it?

That will make a beginner’s earnings per 10g less than the experienced crocheter, but the longer time period she works on the item, her earnings will level out comparing to what the more experienced crocheter will earn.

But what the heck, as crochet are so intertwinely (is that an English word?) related to mathematics, why not make it even more mathematical??!!!

I love maths and I looooove crochet even more!!!

So I hope this motivate you to reconsider the method you use for costing your items!

Your time is of high value, especially in today’s time and age.

Don’t under cost yourself; you are worth a lot more!!!

Happy crocheting!!

Love

B

xx